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1-Day Tour: Togakushi Forest Shrines & Mountain Ninja

1-Day Tour: Togakushi Forest Shrines & Mountain Ninja

Period

May to November

Time

09:15 - 17:30

Meeting Place

Nagano Station Information Board

Price

Adult (13+) 15,500 JPY
Child (6-12) 11,000 JPY

Sitting just outside Nagano City, the forests of Togakushi are home to some of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines, a place linked the creation myths of Japan itself and the mountain refuge of the Togakure Ninja. This engaging tour takes you along short sections of the pilgrimage trails of the ‘Togakushi Kodo’ and deep into myth and legend. Including visits to two of the most important shrines, the Togakushi Ninja Museum and ending at the grand avenue of giant cedars. Highlights include:

 

  • Walk sections of the ‘Togakushi Kodo’ pilgrimage trails between the Hokosha and Chusha Shrines
  • Enjoy Togakushi’s renowned ‘soba’ (buckwheat noodles) at a restaurant in the main village
  • Discover the legend of the ‘Togakure Ninja’ who established themselves in the mountains and forests of Togkaushi
  • Stroll to the Zuishimon Gate and under Togakushi’s iconic giant cedar avenue

 

Starting from Nagano Station, your guide will accompany by public bus to the lower Togakushi village and the Hokosha (Lower Shrine). One of five shrines making-up the Togakushi Shinto complex, your guide will introduce you to the principles of Japan’s native religion as you walk along a forest trail to the upper village.

 

Togakushi shrine Hokosha

 

For at least 1000 years, Togakushi has been considered sacred, attracting Shinto practitioners and mountain ascetics into its forests. Indeed the story of Togakushi is linked to the creation myths of Japan. All Japanese know the story of Amaterasu – the Sun Goddess – who after a violent dispute with her brother – Susanoo, the Storm God – hid in a cave bringing darkness to the world.

 

togakushi-edit

 

Lured out of her hiding place by other gods who created a commotion outside, the boulder across the cave was cast aside and flew through the heavens to earth, where it fell and created Togakushi – meaning the ‘hidden door’.

 

nagano-food-togakushi-soba

 

Your guide will explain the legends to you before heading to an early lunch in the main village. Enjoy Togakushi’s renowned ‘soba’ (buckwheat) noodles before continuing your exploration, by visiting the Chusha (Middle Shrine) as you then head to the Ninja Museum.

 

togakushi-ninja

 

Established in the 12th century, the Togakure school of ninja was founded in the mountains of Togakushi – a place known for its inaccessibility and natural defences. Alternatively called ‘shinobi’, ninja were covert mercenaries, masters of espionage and deception, disappearing as quickly as they appeared. You’ll be guided around the museum before having time to explore for yourself including (should you wish to), entering the ‘Ninja House’ – a maze of deception from which you must try to find your way out. As much for adults as it is for kids!

 

togkaushi-edit

 

Finally, meeting-up with your guide again you’ll make the short walk to the Zuishimon Gate and along the iconic giant cedar avenue of Togakushi*. A wonderful way to finish your day in one of Japan’s most mysterious landscapes. From Togakushi your guide will accompany you on the public bus back to Nagano Station, where the tour will end at 17:30.

 

*Please note, due to time constraints and the challenge of the walk, we do not go all the way to the ‘Okusha’ (Upper Shrine) but instead spend extended time walking along the cedar avenue.

ITINERARY

09:15 Meetup inside Nagano Station. The meetup point is in front of the Information Board directly across from the Shinkansen ticket gates. Your guide will greet the guests and to the nearby bus stop to begin your journey to Togakushi
09:40 Depart Nagano on the local bus bound for Togakushi
10:40 Arrive in the lower village and begin your 2km forest travel walk from the 'Hokosha' (Lower Shrine) and onto the main village
11:45 Enjoy an early 'soba' lunch at a local restaurant
12:30 Visit the neaby 'Chusha' and walk onto the Ninja Museum - approx. 30-minutes walk
13:20 Be guided around the Ninja Museum before enjoying time for yourself with the option of entering the 'Ninja House'
14:40 Depart the museum and walk to the Zuishimon (gate) and avenue of giant cedars - approx. 30-min walk each direction
16:10 Board the local bus from the stop nearby the Ninja Museum and begin your journey back toward Nagano
17:30 Tour concludes at Nagano Station

NOTES

Included

  • Transportation fee from Nagano to Togakushi and between activities/attractions
  • Togakushi Ninja Museum inc. Ninja House entry fee
  • Lunch (vegetarian options are available, please let us know beforehand)
  • English-speaking guide

 

Excluded

  • Additional food, snacks and drinks
  • Additional activities at the Togakushi Ninja Museum
  • Shinkansen/bullet train tickets
  • Accommodation

 

Other Information

  • This tour includes a significant amount of walking, often along forest trails. While paths are well-maintained, the ground is uneven in places and requires a reasonable level of fitness to partake. The itinerary is designed to breakup periods of walking into 30-minute blocks. Please ensure you wear good quality shoes or boots.
  • For the reasons stated above, this tour is not wheelchair accessible. It is also not suitable for persons who are mobility impaired. This tour is well-suited to children but they will need to be able to walk or be carried for up to 30-minutes at a time.
  • This tour spends a considerable period of time outside. Weather conditions in Togakushi are often notably cooler than Nagano City, even in summer. Please also ensure you wear suitable clothing for the season and bring a waterproof jacket and/or umbrella as weather conditions can change quickly.
  • This tour uses public transport from Nagano to Togakushi and back. We use the Alpico Bus service taking just under 60-minutes to reach the Togakushi in the morning and 70-minutes to return to Nagano at the end of the day.
  • This tour includes lunch at Yamaguchiya in Togakushi village. On rare occasions it may not be possible to use this restaurant in which case we would switch to another, comparable location
  • Infants (0-5) are free of charge. An infant lunch is not included and the order will be made directly to the restaurant according to your needs.
  • Booking cut-off time is an hour before the pick up time on the day.

MEETING PLACE

Google Map

Nagano Station Information Board

Kurita, Nagano-shi, Nagano, 380-0921, Japan

FAQ

What time of the bullet train should I ride to arrive in Nagano on time? What time does the bullet train depart back to Tokyo after the tour?

 

The start and finish of the tour are arranged according to the Shinkansen timetable. You can book the following services when joining this tour at Nagano Station:

 

Departing Tokyo Station – Arriving Nagano Station

 

Tokyo: 06:52 – Nagano: 08:37 – Asama

Tokyo: 07:20 – Nagano: 08:42 – Kagayaki – reserved seats only

Tokyo: 07:24 – Nagano: 09:13 – Asama

 

Departing Nagano Station – Arriving Tokyo Station

 

Nagano: 17:56 – Tokyo: 19:20 – Kagayaki – reserved seats only

Nagano: 18:23 – Tokyo: 20:00 – Hakutaka*

 

Is the tour suitable for families and children?

 

Yes. Our guides present information in a manner suited to guests of all ages and in doing, create tours wells-suited for families. Children enjoy the forest walks and shrine visits as our guides tell stories that are accessible to children that ultimately lead our guests the Togakushi Ninja Museum – much loved by children! The only point to note is that the tour includes a reasonable amount of walking but broken into 20 to 30-minute sections to ensure a comfortable pace. All guests including children will need to be able to walk up to 2km at a time.

 

Is this tour suitable for guests in a wheelchair or mobility-impaired?

 

Due to the amount of walking involved in this tour, including many periods walking along forest trails, it is not appropriate for persons in a wheelchair. It also may not be appropriate for anyone who is mobility-impaired as the tour itinerary requires the guide and guests to walk on, and they will not return to the point at which they began i.e. it isn’t possible to wait from them to return. If you any concerns about your ability to join the tour, please contact us to discuss prior to booking.

 

 

I have specific dietary requirements. Can these be catered for?

 

This tour typically uses Yamaguchiya in Togakushi village as our lunch restaurant (noting that we may occasionally need to use another). For lunch, guests can enjoyed Togakushi’s renowned ‘soba’ (buckwheat) noodles with additional side dishes. This meal is appropriate for vegetarian and vegan guests. If you have any allergies or other requirements, please let us know in advance. We will ask the restaurant to cater to your needs but cannot guarantee it is always possible.

 

(Travel Agency License No: Nagano 2-562)
Snow Monkey Resorts Tours
Nagano City Kurita 1015-7, NK Copo 202, Nagano, 380-0921 Japan
Tel: (81)26-219-6256
Member of All Nippon Travel Agents Association
Travel Service Supervisor: Tomoko Kasahara

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